October 25, 2021

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Warmer temps this week could delay peak foliage in some parts of NH

Oct. 11—Meteorologists say temperatures in the 70s later this week might delay the leaves changing colors “a little bit,” but a lack of wind and cold may help some areas retain peak foliage deeper into the fall.

Chris Legro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said sun and warmer temperatures are expected to return to New Hampshire Monday and gradually increase throughout the week.

“It looks to be warmer than average all this week,” said Legro. “That might delay some areas reaching their peak (colors) a little, but a lot of factors go into that process. The good news is there isn’t a lot of wind or cold in the forecast this week, so once those leaves do change they may hang around longer.”

Sun is expected to break through the clouds Monday, allowing high temperatures to approach the upper 60s or 70 degrees in southern New Hampshire. Plenty of sun and partly cloudy skies are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs reaching the mid-70s in some communities.

“Aside from a chance of showers around Wednesday, there are no real fronts or rain in the picture before possibly next weekend,” said Legro.

According to the VisitNH.gov online foliage tracker, the best spots to see plenty of colors this week are across the Great North Woods and northern areas of the White Mountains.

Farther south, the colors range from a 35% color change at the Seacoast, to 60% in the Lakes Region and near Mount Monadnock.

Chlorophyll is found within the cells of plants, including in leaves, and plays an important role in photosynthesis — the process where sunlight is absorbed and gives the leaf energy used to break down carbon dioxide and water into food.

During the fall, as temperatures cool and the days have less sunlight, chlorophyll is not creating as much food for the plant and it starts to break down. Green pigment fades away, leaving behind yellow, orange, and red colors.

In the past, more sections of the Granite State would exhibit vibrant foliage by this time. Officials say conditions should peak about 7-10 days later than usual this year, due to warmer temperatures.

“But dwindling daylight helps,” said Legro. “Even with warmer temperatures, the shorter the days get, the quicker they (the leaves) turn.”

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